DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Roush Fenway Racing has set a goal of reducing its carbon footprint, even though it runs some gas-powered cars around the country.
The initiative started with small-scale environmental protection measures that eventually grew into a company-wide initiative. With the support of its partner Castrol, RFR has become NASCAR’s first carbon neutral team.
Roche Fenway announced Thursday that it has achieved PAS 2060 carbon neutrality certification, verified by an independent third party, ERM CVS. By 2020, Roush has achieved status for its entire organization, including operations and the two race teams.
The team will celebrate this success Sunday at Daytona International Speedway with a special painting of Ryan Newman’s car. Ford is usually dominantly green with red accents when Castrol sponsors number 6.
Newman’s car will be all white this week, with a grey Castrol badge and the muted logos of the partners who have supported the initiative. She has created a sleek look that symbolizes the minimalist path to carbon neutrality. During sponsorship discussions with RFR, Castrol asked the group to work on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and balancing the books.
We have spent months tracking, quantifying and measuring our current carbon footprint and finding ways to reduce it, RFR President Steve Newmark said. There is no doubt that we have unavoidable carbon emissions in our operations. When you race cars and travel the country, it’s inevitably part of our job.
We are trying to show that companies like ours can also take action to reduce overall emissions, and we hope this will set an example for other teams and the racing industry.
To become carbon neutral, RFR has set a goal to recycle 90% of every race car, including oil, rubber, aluminum and carbon fiber. Over the past decade, the organization has reduced total waste generation by more than 100 tons, converted the entire campus to LED lighting, reduced energy costs through computerized HVAC systems, and installed reflective membranes on roofs to reduce solar heat gain.
At the North Carolina facility, runoff water is captured and retained for landscape irrigation, and idling is prohibited on campus to reduce emissions and air pollutants. Roush’s fleet will be converted to Ford electric and hybrid vehicles.
Newman already owns an all-electric Mustang Mach-E, Ford’s first car designed from the start as a zero-emission vehicle.
We, as a community, need to pay attention to make a difference, Newman said. I’ve never been proud to drive around in an electric car, but the reality is that it has a big impact. I’m the guy with the V-8 [engine] rumbling, and the hot rod sounds good, looks good, and takes the kids for ice cream – that’s me, right?
The reality is that it’s costing us our environment, and I’m more aware of that than ever. There are things we can all do better.
Newman noted that once a week he picks up 15 gallons of trash on the road in front of his farm in North Carolina. It fills 5-gallon buckets with packages, bottles, beer cans and bags from fast-food restaurants and convenience stores.
It’s sad that people can be so bad, Newman said. Their thinking has nothing to do with greenhouse gases or carbon footprint and offsets. They are more concerned about there being no trash on the floor of the car. They don’t care if they drive, if they have catalytic converters, if the oil was changed or what happened to it afterwards.
It’s a challenge, and the idea is that you don’t have to do it. They can be effective. You just have to be smarter than that.
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